In the healing of the blind man in John 9 and the response of the religious leaders and teachers that follows, the power of scapegoating is revealed, as is the assurance that Jesus will overcome it.
When a large crowd of admirers met a large crowd of mourners, Jesus noticed the widow, a political act of directing attention to one whose life was most imperiled. Followers of Christ would do well to do the same.
In Jesus’ teaching concerning the Good Shepherd in John and the healing of Tabitha in Acts we see the importance of hearing and of the forms of response that hearing makes possible, whether for serving and following God or for our serving of each other.
Jesus’ healings are not just random acts of charity on the way to the cross but are integral to the very point that his death and resurrection make: that God’s intention in this world is human well-being and life, even in the face of death. This presents a challenge to empires.
Although at first glance they may appear incidental, the frequency of border crossings in the story of the raising of Lazarus suggests the presence of a theme. Through a narrative of successive boundary crossings, the power and willingness of God to traverse any distance and border is made manifest.
By the time preachers in America address their congregations this Sunday, the nation’s Supreme Court will have ruled on the health insurance reform act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in March of 2010. The coincidence of this much-anticipated ruling and a quirky Jesus healing story is irresistible!